Rising ticket prices reflect higher expectations

Contemplating whether to buy a house used to be the typical stressful, daunting personal investment. Now, it’s deciding whether to drop what’s left in your checking account to see Beyoncé. It is not a surprise ticket sales have increasingly gotten more expensive as each year passes; not only for concerts and music festivals, but any event held in a venue. 

According to Statista, the global average price for a general admission ticket in 2015 was $78.77.  According to Business Insider, fans paid an average of $469 to see Adele during her 2016 tour; making her the number one most expensive artists fans paid to see. Now in 2017, the average ticket price has risen to $84.63. This may not seem like a big jump, but take into account this is the general price for the cheapest tickets, which sell out the fastest, and more often than not are nosebleeds.  

The common assumption is the artists and companies putting on these events want to drain us for every penny we have, but that actually may not be the case. From a supply and demand stance, the more people who want a particular artist the more they are willing to pay. A less mainstream band, such as The 1975, would obviously have more affordable tickets compared to someone whose continuously topping the Billboard charts. 

    The industry’s top artists make millions in ticket sales after a national or international tour; unless you’re Queen B and make a quarter billion dollars from the 2016 Formation World Tour. However, they do not get to pocket 100 percent of those profits. The bigger the production, the more money there is to divvy out between the background dancers, stage crew, and everyone else involved. But let’s not forget about those hidden booking and other additional fees that catch up to you at the end and hike up the ticket price even more.   

The shift in expectations that directly influence prices share the blame. Shows today are becoming major spectacles; less focus on the music and more focus on theatricality. This change is partly to do with the fans developing a higher set of expectations for the artists; they want to make sure they will wow the audience and they do not want to waste their money or time. 

However, it seems as if artists are also trying to one-up each other on who can make the biggest statement, such as Kanye West performing on a flying stage on his Saint Pablo Tour in 2016. The saying “you get what you pay for” plays into this situation of rising ticket prices. When an artist invests a great deal of money into their tour, they expect to make a profit. The extra time and money artists provide the fans to give them an one-of-a-kind experience is then reflected in the inflated prices. 

There are few artists, such as Ed Sheeran, who still hold true to old school values. However, Sheeran’s simple, emotional performances with just him and his guitar end up costing almost as much as a Kanye West extravaganza. 

Popularity is not the only factor that experts correlate to increasing ticket prices. As technology evolves, so does the way we buy and listen to music. With streaming apps such as Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music the need for people to buy physical albums has significantly decreased. Artists are seeing a radical decline in record sales and need to compensate for that lost income somewhere else, like touring.

There are a few ways you can avoid the expensive tickets and save some of your paycheck. If you buy the ticket in person at the venue, there is a chance you may avoid paying those hidden fees mentioned earlier. 

Presale tickets tend to be cheaper, but this system has a loophole: only holders of certain credit cards, like American Express, have access to this opportunity. 

If you are not an American Express cardholder, there seems to only be one more option to satisfy your money-saving needs; secondary market sites such as StubHub and TickPick. Secondary market sites are ways to get concert, sports or other kinds of tickets at a bidding price from a particular seller. With these sites it is all about timing; if you look too far in advance you might pay even more than the face value of the ticket, because now the seller wants to make a profit. However, if you buy the ticket the day before or of the event, then there is a greater chance of savings. 

Hopefully, there will be a point where ticket prices have reached their peak and at least, for our bank accounts’ sake, will remain stagnant or, in an ideal world, will start to decrease.